Category Archives: Contemporary Poets

Amrit Gangar

4th Vol, No 1 (April 2017)

KUMARTULI

NINE POEMS FOR NAVDURGA AND A CHOKKHU DAAN 

1.

Mainak’s photography

Kumartuli is a quest

wearing dasabhujā, the ten arms

enters a bull from a street

a crescent moon so bright, and

an image so lustrous

 

a Shailputri is born! –

– in Kumartuli!

 

 

2.

 

Mainak’s photography

Kumartuli is a quest

bearing bodies of hay and clay

awaiting alankara on sharira

a rosary bound in beads, and

an image so celibate

 

a Brahmacharini is born! –

– in Kumartuli!

 

 

3.

 

Mainak’s photography

Kumartuli is a quest

lolling wrath on tongue, in eyes

trembling foes, in fear

streets so desolate and lonely, and

an image so propitious

 

a Chandraghanta is born! –

– in Kumartuli!

 

 

 4.

Mainak’s photography

Kumartuli is a quest

holding kalasha of madira and rakta

in hands so pious, like padma

drops drop, drops dip, and

an image so shakta

 

a Kushmanda is born! –

– in Kumartuli!

 

 

5.

Mainak’s photography

Kumartuli is a quest

growing lotus on palms

in lap a child, Skanda

Kartikeya, mother, the Mā, and

an image so subliminal

 

a Sakandamātā is born! –

– in Kumartuli!

 

 

6.

Mainak’s photography

Kumartuli is a quest

wielding arms with arms

demons fill the streets sonic

lion roars at himself

an image so ferocious, and

 

a Katyayani is born! –

– in Kumartuli!

 

 

7.

 

Mainak’s photography

Kumartuli is a quest

a bulb hanging, lights up

a third eye opens in an instant

a nagna body, hair unlocked

an image so nocturnal, and

 

a Kālrātri is born! –

– in Kumartuli!

 

 

8.

Mainak’s photography

Kumartuli is a quest

dawning shweta of samaya

bull bathed in milk

robes divine cladding streets, and

an image so bright

 

a Mahagauri is born! –

– in Kumartuli!

 

 

9.

 

Mainak’s photography

Kumartuli is a quest

a symphony of conchs, cymbals

time becomes a chakra here

gods chant, chant demons, and

an image so victorious

 

a Siddhidatri is born! –

– in Kumartuli!

 

 

And the 10th for ‘Chokkhu Daan’…

 

 

10.

Mainak’s photography

Kumartuli is a quest

Durga, the Doe-eyed Devi

an old kumhar in deep meditation

rises, strikes a brush in an instant

an eye opens out on a forehead…

 

a Trinayani is born! –

– in Kumartuli!

 

 

 

 Notes:

 

Kolkata’s Kumartuli endearingly fascinates me whenever i am in the city of Kali, the Kalikatta (Calcutta / Kolkata). The settlement of Kumartuli, meaning “potters’ quarter” (kumar / kumhar = potter), is over three hundred years old. It was formed by a few potters who came to the area in search of a better livelihood. They fetched clay from the nearby river to make pots and sell at Sutanuti Bazar (later Burrabazar), and eventually managed to survive in the area. Gradually they took to making the images of gods and goddesses, worshipped in large numbers in the mansions all around and eventually at community ‘puja’ in the city and beyond. These icon-artisans mostly dwell in poor living conditions.

 

Durga, in all her nine forms (Navdurga), manifests in her divine organicity – in Kumartuli.Come Durga Puja and beautiful Doe-eyed goddesses manifest one by one by one…

 

Navdurga: Nine different forms of the Mother Goddess.

 

Glossary:

Dasabhuja – Ten-armed; Alankara – Ornamentation; Sharira – Body; Kalasha – Pitcher

Madira – Spirituous liquor ; Rakta – Blood; Padma – Lotus; Shakta – One who worshipsShakti (i have used it in the sense of ‘energy’); Nagna – Naked; Shweta – White;    Samaya – Time

Kumhar – Potter; Chakra – Wheel.

 

Chokkhu Daan: The literal meaning of ‘Chokkhu Daan’ is donation of eyes. This happens on“Mahalaya” (Homecoming) day, which is very special as on the dawn of ‘Mahalaya’ the makers of the Durga idols paint the eyes of the Goddess. Durga, who was married to Siva, returns to her paternal residence during the Puja, signifying her homecoming. On this day, Kumartuli wears a vibrant charisma as the large, gentle, dark eyes sparkle up in instants…

 

Amrit Gangar  is a Mumbai-based writer, film theorist, curator and historian. During his college days he used to write poems off and on both in English (as also Gujarati) and several of them were published in journals including Kavi India, Mirror, Youth Times, Calcutta Canvas, Bharat Jyoti, an anthology of poems on Emergency, etc. Of late, he has again picked up his poetic thread. He has authored a number of books on cinema both in English and Gujarati languages. His recent book Cinema Vimarsh has won the Gujarat Sahitya Akademi award. For the past decade or so he has been engaged with developing and expanding his concept of Cinema Prayoga, which he has presented so far across many venues in the world and India, including Kala Bhavan, Santiniketan.

Anwer Ghani

Our Hospital

I had met an old friend in the garden of our hospital. His hand was warm, not because of his fever, but due to his love.Two things you can’t imagine their impact, the flowers in the garden and a friend in a hospital. Our hospital is small but it was the place where we see the chanting birds and the smiling trees. Here, in my city, it is unusual to see the smile and our days are gloomy as the mangled wood, but the hospital is tenderhearted as a mother. In fact All the birds in our hospital are smiling and white, but in a dark day a dread hand had invaded their souls and put frowning twilight in their corners.

 

 

A Physician

I am a doctor in my town’s hospital, and in addition to this, I love the poets. In fact, I feel that the poet and the physicians are twins and they had drunk the spiritual milk from the same hopeful breast. When my hand touches the deep sense of the patient I feel that I am a good reader. You know the poet a well as the physician is a good reader.While the physician brings the honey water from the remote springs in the morning, the poet makes the feathery soul’s bellow from the magic birds in the evening.

 

 

Our Nurse

In our hospital, there are soft hands, exactly as the sense of the cream, and this is not because of their smooth skin, but the real cause is their big hearts. These big hearts, delightedly, engage in our feeling as old nobles, and bring with their smiles all possible glads. From these colored waterfalls, the compassion takes her beautiful mantle, and the generosity learned her passion. You can find same kindness in the coffe’s perfumes, in the political offices’ birds, and in the garden’s flowers, but you should know that it is so different when you see the glory of the kindness in the eyes of our nurse.

 

Anwer Ghani is an Iraqi poet and writer. He was born in 1973 in Alhilla city. His name had appeared in Adelaide, Zarf, Peacock, Otoliths, Algebra of Owls, and others. And also had appeared in Inner Child Press anthology “The Year Of The Poet”. Anwer Ghani is the chief editor of “Tajdeed” literary magazine.  He had, in Arabic, forty books in literature and religious sciences. Here is his websitehttps://anwerghaniwriting.blogspot.com/p/blog-page.html

Rony Nair’

Intolerance-Incomplete

there were trains that went to Pakistan;

before it became this generations’ war cry.

when they found themselves entombed by a fear that hadn’t a name,

like love, and its paradoxes.

 

We gave fear a motive, a drawer peephole, a straitjacket to explore.

as we turned around the bends and tried to draw up cheat sheets and indicants.

We gave fear a measure in lynch ratios and slabs of frozen mutton.

We gave fear a score. In a medieval court.

 

Barometers sound off roofs as movie stars’ cacophonies.

Wet dreams from surrogate mothers and love child stand forgotten

in escape; from delinquent

farce.

Where misty eyes burn down from sacrificial pyres,

while men who needed to speak

forgot their tongues.

 

50 steps to the Railway Cross

Cast out

of the apartment.

Together,

that we helped set.

Friends and fathers;

Question time.

 

Of Cancer cells eating away.

Yours and mine,


Borrowed time
.

 

We rolled mattresses up lifts that day.

a grimy table,

A spring bed on the floor.

Rickety.

New.

 

The floor

was still in undress.

Unmade.

Duress.

 

Hurried lunches

from takeaway bins later.

It was time

To be thrown to the rains.

 

Spat out by that old car,

Driven by the woman friend.

next to that school ground

that’s seen it all.

 

the old wheel seller was hard at it

The lanes filling up.

Mucous,

Water,

Friction.

Static.

Dulcet.

 

Splashes.

Of Our faces looking back,

Puddles,

Those litterbugs of silence.

Always drawing comment

When it’s you; when it’s me.

 

In selective memory

I divide that moment into bite size chunks.

In strange plays of words.

In hands that grazed and stayed.

In memories that I beg to tweak,

To change;

I remember that I ran away as always.

Hitching a ride.

You’re still under the awning.

Alone

 

Use and Throw

there’s always the wait,

in connections,

that have turned away.

Redundant,

in a global age.

where you’re drawn closer,

and then spat out.

 

like the gutter.

the vomit.

a guilty pleasure;

to use.

And throw.

 

it is always the one who discards,

who is loved.

 

Pits

does your armpit still drip

towards the right;

like a faucet in retreat?

 

where the eyes alight

half mooned;

in their questions?

 

does the sweat still patch

the confusions within?

as the furrows brow deeper

and the vain airs try

to breathe?

 

do the nostrils still flare

as the right arm grabs

and bites out the last wisps

of my breath?

 

And then your eyes filled with tears when

It was time to don,

Each other’s sweat.

 

Holograms

In your town I search,
without seeking visitations’,
of the divine.

Not for me the corpus of maudlin and hymen.
or scores lost in meandering intent.
there’s you somewhere,
in the oxygen that I breathe.
Somewhere in the hairclips that tie disparate strands
in airy weaves and raised flags,
In long ago defeat.

somewhere in the roaming of the mind
around the bends in the head,
somewhere in the rusted edges of your contempt are shrugs which begin from eyes that have already reshaped history;
Entwined it in cobwebs of stretched out half-shreds,
shrapnel bursts from long ago.

 

Rony Nair’s been a worshipper at the altar of prose and poetry for almost as long as he could think. They have been the shadows of his life. (They’ve been) the bedsit at the end of a long day; the repository that does the sound of silence inimitably well. Not unlike a pet; but with one core difference- the books do suggest, educate and weave a texture that marginally provides streams of thought that are new. And one of the biggest pleasures of his life, is certainly holding a treasured edition in one’s hands. Physically.Rony works as an oil and gas Risk Management consultant. He’s been 20 years in the industry since starting off as an Industrial engineer a long time ago. Extensively traveled. Dangers fronted often. But that’s his day job. The one that pays for bread and bills.Rony was a published columnist with the Indian Express. He is also a professional photographer about to hold his first major exhibition and has previously been published by Sonic Boom, Quail Bell Magazine, YGDRASIL journal, Mindless Muse, Yellow Chair Review, Two Words For, Ogazine, New Asian Writing (NAW), Semaphore, The Economic Times, 1947, The Foliate Oak Magazine, Open Road Magazine, Tipton Review, Antarctica Journal, North East Review, Muse India, and YES magazine, among others. Rony has also featured in the Economic Times of India. He cites V.S Naipaul, A.J Cronin, Patrick Hamilton, Alan Sillitoe, John Braine and Nevil Shute in addition to FS Fitzgerald as influences on his life; and Philip Larkin, Dom Moraes and Ted Hughes as his personal poetry idols. Larkin’s’ collected poems would be the one book he would like to die with. When the poems perish. As do the thoughts!

Deepanker Yadav

The Shadows

The shadow

Which want to look up from the

Mirror

Are the doubts of my uneasy

Conscience

But, what can I do ?

When my psyche’s door is shut.

 

My state is like that audience

Who is captive of cage, but get a

glimpse

Of the harsh reality of outside

from the window pane.

When does not find any way of

outdoor,

He is weaving pain with

Perplexed brain.

 

While playing with Reverain

 

While playing with riverain, on the water

I have made some portraits,

Waving hands in the air

pointlessly and aimlessly

I have drawn some diagrams

which nobody can wipe out;

 

In the green valleys

underneath open sky

I have sung a few songs

which can not be hidden;

 

the short of

is the mirror of the relationship

of mine and yours,

which never gets old with passing time,

 

on which no cycle of time

can put layers of dust ever.

Deepanker Yadav is a student of literature at Allahabad University. He is an independent scholar  and poet. He writes both Hindi and English.

Ritwik Ghosh

  Adventure

We will together go on adventures,

In the vast world, beyond the limitless,

where the visionary world melts in the distance,

We will explore in our gleaming exploration,

the world lapping its liquid dreams,

in wave after gentle wave of voluptuous laughter,

in the glimmering splendour,

of cool passionate discovery,

know ourselves deeply in authentic jocular joy,

in the jollity of the inner hearts symmetry,

unconceal the world in genuine understanding.

In exploration we will discover unseen forces of life,

that revolve the cyclic compass of sorrow and joy,

In our voyage we will feel the spirit of living,

overfill the dream matter of being,

We will come to paths that are forked,

We will choose our paths in the eternal now,

Walking in the lifelong bonds that interconnect all life,

ecosystems with plants and animals,

the maternal ocean with the elevated mountains,

in the offerings of the cosmos,

we will have a renewal of life,

in the rhythm of the universe,

we will bless the good over evil,

Accept the dream of love and live striving,

in our journey of the spirit,

in the adventure of liberation,

Other worlds we will visit,

We will discover that they are just like us,

and we are not what we thought,

we will witness the links of life,

to know truth in us is one in myriad forms,

We will explore consciousness beyond illusion,

To discover we can know and cannot know ourselves,

We will discover the heavenly spark that dwells within the emotional,

We will go on a journey of freedom in the dialogue of being,

Ours is the adventure of striving towards liberty.

 

 Ode   Rain                                

It’s raining all night,

Never has sadness been more joyous,

In the pitter and patter of raindrops,

I recollect forgotten bliss,

Of thoughts and days, I forget I had,

I can feel memories of innocent worlds,

So lost in experience, to recollect them,

Is to fall as sand, through my hand,

To feel is a rare thing, in the lonely ocean of life,

The raindrops gently crash on the emerald leaves,

Give a moment’s emptiness unmeaning joy,

The woods give way their life with other life,

The paths I chose through life’s woods,

Become covered with new grass,

With new strange foliage, blithe flowers,

Life’s loss and work becomes undone,

The lonely silence of secluded loss,

The murmur of raindrops,

Raindrops cherishing their falling,

The raindrop farewell,

Fills me with emptiness.

2

It rained all night long,

I forgot all my sorrow,

I forgot all my pain,

In the gentle music of raindrops,

I felt my life heal,

All that I could not do,

My missteps and losses, I let go,

I welcome oblivion,

In the sound of raindrops.

3

Forms merge with forms,

Time melts, time becomes liquid,

Washes away all things,

Fills with new form,

The myriad strangeness of unnamed,

Unconceived being,

In the fall of gentle raindrops,

I am filled with longing.

4

The longing of lost love,

Falls gently upon me like rain,

Fills me with inner yearning for lost time, lost worlds,

Of things that were and are never more,

Of stuff that could have been,

And never more can be,

The void and the chasm of love,

Voluptuous as liquid memory,

Pouring passionate upon,

The resignation of calm dappled,

Green touched farewell days,

Each raindrop is a lost dream,

The unfulfilled realm of dreams,

Is the water play that makes

Flowers of loss bloom,

Opening their buds,

While bees drunk with new joy,

Peep within flowers to collect hidden honey.

 

 

Ode to Autumn

The harvest overflows,

the granary rooms are filled with fruitage,

We celebrate with dances and song,

the birds sing their songs,

the brooks and rivulets water moaning murmuring flow,

the bees murmur their festival of honey,

the ants gather the joy of the season,

we love the last brilliance of flower rich meadows,

and fruit filled vales,

 

Our merrymaking fills us with sleep,

we are filled with a long, deep, sweet sleep,

 

The hunt begins, with the dogs of dawn,

the wild deer of night sprint, bound across the brooks,

oozing sprightly vitality, plucky verve, the stag falls,

feebly exhausted it dies,

 

O’er filled fruits, gathered ripeness, we share,

across the dinner tables, we gather new radiance,

Across amusements, divertimentos, we share our hearts,

tell our tales, dance once more,

till we in autumn love cherished,

join the long, deep, sweet sleep.

 

Ritwik Ghosh is the author of two books of poems,” The Democracy of dreams” and “The Art of the Ode”, and the composer of five works of music, a violin concerto, a trumpet concerto, an oboe concerto, a cello suite and a toccata for Organ.

Asim Kumar Paul

I WANT TO LIVE FOR ANOTHER DAY

I want to live for another day,

the sky to be bright,

the air to be cool with no protest,

commodities are not burnt on the way.

 

I want to live for another day,

I can hear sound of drums of happiness,

roads are not blocked,

I can dream for a long time.

 

I want to live for another day,

mind can fly, expecting through lights

beaming towards reinvents of hope,

window pans are not closed.

 

I want to live for another day,

all of us can make their rooms,

no one can miss loved ones,

everyone can speak for everyone’s sake.

 

I want to live for another day,

I have no waiting list for trails of love,

I just speak of myself,

everyone can hear it, like it.

 

I want to live for another day,

openion is free and excellent,

everyone can hold hands of everyone,

down to each one’s peaceful resting place.

 

 

GOSSIPS

Roadside gossip-centers carry stories.

Some people gather there, they speak of events around them,

From home-concern to birds’ twittering, they are talking to

References, from life’s conditions to flowers’ blooming,

They simply dedicate their views those are lacking light,

They absorb fragments of life, leaking from unconceived music.

It is their verbal stride from side walk to pendulum’s sway,

That builds essence of ignorance of actual reading of life.

 

Time is their passing hours, like steam to go squeezed

Over time’s fallen feathers on grass, they ignore this yelling,

They sometimes are so frenetic to disown mind.

Answering to call of mind’s consciousness becomes weird.

It is an impulse that carries blindness and nature’s dismay.

They forget to looking up for light that creates image.

Ascending themselves separately for an imprint is one fumbling dream.

Busy people are passers-by, they will not help gossips.

 

 

LIVING WITH A DIFFERENCE

We are not walking on the same street,

Mind blows with paintings, footsteps with different strides,

Conjoint of streets and dreams, destination to each one’s

Province, where colors are of different shades, each one

Having one future, not like that of other one,

Being painter, one is walking with painting brush and

Color pallets, around one’s journey on the street,

Caught between love and essence of memories,

Little emotions work with strangers over dust on the road.

We move on, return to own nest, live with a difference.

 

Walking alone,

Little fog around the grass,

Coolness in morning.

 

 

DIALOGUE

Dialogue continues for an hour, how you follow words,

How you ripple is feeling of iteration, inside a bus, all along,

It is also speaking about love, children, burns, brains, gains,

It is about notion you come about your means and methods.

 

The bus is moving in six-lane road, – boundary, aspects of life,

Drizzling, sun-burn, frost bite, sound of air-horn, sound of

Air-friction, red-yellow-green light signals, processions, banners,

All get ripe like tides, yet dialogue continues, inch by inch.

 

Passengers pass through boundary, immense anxiety on faces,

Thin progress in dialogue cuts short of results, they breathe,

Entering into conflicting world, they feel crammed inside bus.

Time limit vents through fear that they move through odds.

 

A pair of white birds moves together, flying to discover

Permissive love and falls each other’s wings, for next nest,

Passengers look at their free travelling in air, and get

Annotated with joy, but birds are in unspeakable pursuits.

 

 

Asim Kumar Paul is a retired person. He is of 66 years of age. He lives with his wife at Kharagpur town, West Bengal, India. He has four publications of poetry books, 1. Three Poems (2005), 2. Winter Shade to His Liking (2007), 3. Azure (2010). These three books are praised by eminent poet, Dr Benjamin Zephaniah of UK. His fourth poetry book is Poetry Album (2014) and one poetry brochure SCULPTURE (2015)  Asim has two poetry blogs 1. http://asimkumarpaul.blogspot.in 2. http://asimkumarpaul.wordpress.com/. Asim’s full Bio-data is at the link, http://www.flickr.com/people/asim_kumar_paul/.

Nalini Priyadarshni

Let Us Meet In Sri Lanka

Oh! Let us meet at a beach in Sri Lanka

next time we come around

reckless beneath tropical sun

go skinny dipping among variegated corals

looking for shimmering mermaids and

find ourselves shoal of lyretail instead

 

Let us quench our thirst with coconut water

untangle miscarried quests from wet hair

discover lifetimes we missed

in crinkles around our eyes

our hearts beating to the rhythm of uddekki

oblivious to the swaying dancers at twilight

 

Let us ponder the silence between

breaking of nocturnal waves and

greet rising moon with howls of joy

explore crevasses of our longings

in darkness between twinkling stars

lay bare our passion to rustling fronds

of palm lined Unawatuna.

 

Let us ride edges of breakers at dawn

inhale the saltiness of tides

wearing smiles that only warmth

of true love bring and once

more be at peace with the world

and ourselves, dreaming of no

farther shores nor any distant seas.
(written in collaboration with D Russel Micnhimer)

Nalini Priyadarshni is the author of Doppelganger in My House (2016) and co author of Lines Across Oceans (2015).  Her poems have appeared in numerous literary journals and international anthologies including Mad Swirl, Camel Saloon, Dukool, In-flight Magazine, Poetry Breakfast, The Riveter Review, The Open Road Review and The Yellow Chair. Her forthcoming publications include Sacred Women in the Anti-violence movement: Anthology and Your One Phone Call.

Vatsala Radhakeesoon

Romantic Love vs God’s Love
In my 20’s
I  walked with a heart  blurred and heavy,
wearing an alloyed chain of  youth’s dependency,
waiting for the love of the sun
and passion of  the moon
to  hug me tightly
and filled my life with permanent gaiety .

Now I’m thirty-nine,
No longer  like a semi-open rose
But fully mature
and determined to listen to the
depth of  my soul’s voice.

What a fool was I !
How ignorant was I!
These- I have now realized;
Mundane romantic love
is full of insecure, futile sighs.

Many men try to impose their love on me,
They tell me that in old age
I’ll have no one who will care for me
and I will feel all damn lonely,
I’ve learnt to listen to them un-reactively
and walk away bearing my feminine dignity.
To those who consider themselves
sheltered by a partner’s love and lucky,
I bow to each of them  and say sincerely
“May God bless thee!”

But to me true love
is the love of the Divine
and that’s the type of love
that has touched my life.

When I close my eyes,
I deeply feel his rays
of love shining with
confidence amidst
his omniscience
his omnipresence
his omnipotence.

God loves me unconditionally,
And I too love him genuinely,
Unlike human heart,
his heart has no limited handcuffs,
It’s all- space and eternal growth.

God’s love always speaks the truth,
It’s no flatterer,
but the wisest advisor
It shows me the enlightened  path.

Being connected to God constantly,
I never feel lonely and unhappy ,
My life immerses in his immortality
And dances with his love’s permanency.

 

 

My Little Daughter
O my little daughter!
Over the years,
you have smiled,
sung and played
in my imagination’s garden,
But due to unpredictable circumstances
and my chosen life’s broader mission
you have never been the fruition
of my reality’s creation

Single and celibate ,
I’ve chosen to be
to protect you
from a fake daddy’s
lies and treachery,
and the sharp tongue
of society’s and family’s mockery

O my little daughter!
Amidst morning’s poetry,
you have often hugged me
but now you have understood
that God and Poetry make me cheery,
So you have loosen your embrace
and set me free

You say that you are contented
in the unborn world,
Over there, no pain, no tears swirl
You are closer to the Divine,
At any time you can visit
any part of the universe
You are a liberated, unchained soul

O my little daughter!
My human soul feel a glimpse
of the distant future,
After many eons , you will again come
to me
As a mother , on Earth I will always be
your lighthouse
whenever you will sail in the vast sea
called life.

Vatsala Radhakeesoon,Born in Mauritus in1977, Vatsala Radhakeesoon has had a keen interest in poetry writing since a very young age. Her poems have been featured in  local and international newspapers, magazines, journals and anthologies. Her first poetry book ‘When Solitude Speaks’ was published in 2013 on the approval of the Ministry of Arts and Culture (Mauritius).She is currently self-employed and continues to write poems in English, French, Kreol and Hindi.

Sonali Raj

I didn’t see you

I didn’t see you walk up the drivewayAdd New
I would have seen you in the dark
I can make you out by moonlight
You rang the doorbell, everything had been silent until then
I didn’t know past or future just the infinite presents
I would have heard you breathing
I can hear your accent when I speak to myself
You rang the doorbell, I looked out the window
Your face was looking in, Why did you go? I wanted to say
You were not there when I opened the door
Not there when I ran down the driveway
Nor turning the street corner
I didn’t know which way to find you
You hadn’t ever been there at all.

 

Citron

When I asked you the colour of your eyes, it was because

no one can tell, looking at you, what race you are. You could be

Indian, I thought it was the Persian in your blood.

 

Your eyes are green early mornings, or perhaps, in the shadows, a translucent brown, and then depending on the day, your eyes are blue green yellow, I could see your veins even on a dull day.

 

When you turned and said, “you tell me,” I thought it wasn’t proper. You could have said, green mostly, or some such put-offish thing. But then I would have learnt nothing about your eyes—that they were, at that moment, made of water, a mountain stream, lit, placid, shaded in places.

 

I was lonely. Not for want of people, no, I feel lonely because there are few people whose veins I can see in the sunlight these days. Fewer who know love for love’s sake. I am a criminal really, a dog, I wanted to rest my head against your knee and stay like that. One day when I meet you again, if I do, would you still remember.

 

 

Upon a wall

Upon a wall I recline,
Counting my desires.
I want the calm of nights alone
A mountain stream about my toes
I want to drive leaning out
Face to face with the road
I shall stretch myself and roll
The sand and wind in my clothes
I shall stand up to my chest
In the swell of the sea
And subside with it when it falls
I will run around this city naked; trample
The elephant grass
I recline upon a wall,
though now and again I fall off.

 

 

Mainak’s photography

Sonali Raj did an MFA in creative writing from City University, Hong Kong. Her work has appeared in Eastlit, Pink Pages, Annapurna magazine and a couple of other places. She lives near New Delhi and blogs at strangetype.blogspot.in

 

Sneha Subramanian Kanta

Must Love Be Used; Flinchingly

the preposterous planet dangles human
masses convulsing over breathless underarms,
with pretense, insolent. In glee, integrated dusty
doom in laborious slippery reflections perpetually
pride fluent, uncouth ascensions of the heart. alas,
burnt incense on glassy surfaces peculiarly frail,
breaking every flush of feeling

(elsewhere; a moon breathed by lungs of soil
and trees and a sun, like a bright balloon
inflated unto warmth by their veins)

Battered by amorous, brittle square edges
(o did you — say you loved somebody?
scarlet blood, i, on the lap of wind. to your sex-starved
— clumsiness, i am sexless)
luscious, an Eighteenth century pencil point
debris sharpened, indignantly
profound
(something opens and folds, vaguely dashes against my bones)
and carried, flies,
scratching shores under pruned ersatz.

 

 

The Shades of Charcoal

Gray tinctures from mist carry smeared wafts
of slow pyrolysis embers. As pencil stream tints
cross-hatch on paper, dampened by smooth
resolves of finger trails on chalk-white paper.
Visible sun rays over a light-weight vestige vine
of soft consistency. Tones of compressed sketch
skirt outlines depict on precis like soliloquies.
Vapors emancipate from distilled chips to create
whiskey. Intoxication breathes there in slow, sedate
breaths as patches of remnant, subdued wood stains

Embers succumb to fire as i surrender to he —
as flakes to fire, gray.

 

Mutisme

In the crowded metropolis in London

where rain beats over the grayscale sky

 

and repeats itself every one quarter

mythology lessons nudge memory,

 

create an analogy with the Arjuna Chakra.

caught in the endless chain of life;

 

expressions alabaster figurines hold.

From a window outside the bathroom in

 

Paris, at the Grand Hotel de Clermont I

saw an early morning one such figurine:

 

melancholic at a loss she was too tired to

remember. The sky was bright with autumn

 

smok’d lanes winding and stretching uphill.

 

the train in its husky sound laughed —

as it drew in.

 

 

Semantics of Mythologies

Where were you, O mariyada purushottam Ram,

while Sita suffered at the hands of a stranger?

There was a mangal thread

she wore: close to her bosom, and clutched onto.

 

She had leapt into vanvas for your safekeeping,

under the guise of tradition,

do you see the tears in her eyes –

the syringes she spends to assuage society,

the saat-pheras of promised oneness.

 

Where did you lose the golden lotus of love,

amid your tenure among the forest-groves,

do you hear the rivulet still run with fervent velocity,

the days Sita spent there – counting flower petals?

 

O Ram, the world is going to hell since,

Patriarchy has killed all of you.

 

 

Sneha Subramanian Kanta, currently pursuing my postgraduate studies in literature and culture in the United Kingdom.  She believes in the sounds of silence and qualities of seasons, among other things. A dedicated scholar to the rubric of postcolonial literature, her work has appeared or is to appear in 7X20 mag, Otoliths, Noble Gas Qtrly., Sahitya Akademi and in poetry anthologies such as Dance of the Peacock (Hidden Brook Press, Canada), Suvarnarekha (The Poetry Society of India, India) and elsewhere. You can write to her on s.sneha01@yahoo.in